Lina Mahoul is a name the Israeli public will hear repeatedly thanks to her recent win of The Voice Israel television song contest. The 19-year-old Arab Christian from the northern town of Acre (Akko) sang a touching version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ to take the coveted title.
Mahoul was one of four finalists in the contest’s second season. The three other women included a religious Jew, an Ethiopian and a Sephardi.
Mahoul, who also won a recording contract, told Israeli television that she hopes her win will lead to greater acceptance within society to the other. “If people really open their hearts and feel, the change will come,” she said.
“I believe Israeli society really needed this win,” said Rudy Beinsin, the Ethiopian-born soul singer and semi-finalist.
In addition to her singing, Mahoul is a biology student at the Technion Institute; speaks five languages – Arabic, English, Hebrew, Spanish and Italian; has danced ballet for 10 years; and volunteers with Magen David Adom (MADA), the Israeli Red Cross.
Last year, Canadian-born immigrant Kathleen Reiter won the singing contest.